New Barcelona Design Museum merges art and design collections

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New Barcelona Design Museum merges decorative art and design collections

News: the Barcelona Design Museum will open in December with newly curated collections that represent Catalonian design history from the third century to present day (+ slideshow).

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Photograph by Lourdes Jansana

The collections will be housed in the new 8,000-square-metre building called the Disseny Hub Barcelona. Local studio BM Arquitectes designed the metal-clad structure for the Barcelona Design Museum on a site just off the Placa de les Glòries Catalanes, a large sunken garden in the centre of an elevated roundabout.

The Disseny Hub draws together over 70,000 items from four previously independent museums – the Decorative Arts Museum, Ceramics Museum, the Textile and Clothing Museum and the Graphic Arts Cabinet – and a research centre.

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Photograph by Lourdes Jansana

"The new museum is characterised by a flexible, inclusive discourse, which highlights the transversal aspects of these four large collections whilst also focusing on more specific facets in each," said a statement from the museum.

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Photograph by Xavier Padrós

The newly combined collections, which includes pieces of furniture, clothing, poster design and ceramics aim to encourage visitors to delve into the "historic role of the arts."

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Photograph by Xavier Padrós

"Design is, to a certain extent, a consequence of the earlier decorative arts, whether as a reaction to their ornamental value or as exponents of the new industrial, post-industrial or digital world."

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Photograph by Lourdes Jansana

Four exhibitions of the permanent collections that "reflect the dynamic nature of design, designers and society itself" will coincide with the opening of the museum, encompassing product, graphic and fashion design, as well as artworks.

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Chair Garriri, 1987 by Javier Mariscal, on show as part of From the World to the Museum: Product Design, Cultural Heritage exhibition. Photograph by Estudio Rafael Vargas

"The new centre traces the evolution from decorative arts to design, an area in which Barcelona has always stood out, and particularly, explores the future perspectives for this discipline," they said.

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Chair BKF, 1938 by Grupo Austral, on show as part of From the World to the Museum: Product Design, Cultural Heritage exhibition. Photograph by Estudio Rafael Vargas

The collections will be presented within MBM Arquitectes's Hub building, which is clad in zinc plates with large sections of glazing that give the museum "an industrial feel."

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Motorbike Impala, 1962 by Leopoldo Milá, on show as part of From the World to the Museum: Product Design, Cultural Heritage exhibition. Photograph by Estudio Rafael Vargas

A large angular volume containing an auditorium cantilevers from the top of the building over the tramlines of the Glòries station at one side of the site, while on the other side a further overhanging box has large sections of glazing that look over an artificial lake.

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Panel La Xocolatada, 1710, on show as part of the Extraordinary! Decorative Arts and Author Art Collections (3rd – 20th Centuries) exhibition. Photograph by Guillem Fernández

The two projections, coupled with the metal cladding, give the building an anvil-shaped appearance.

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Dresser drawer, 1902 by Joan Busquets i Jané, on show as part of the Extraordinary! Decorative Arts and Author Art Collections (3rd – 20th Centuries) exhibition. Photograph by Xavier Padrós

Stairwells and escalator wells that serve the upper and basement floors of the building are attached to the side of the building.

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Dress, Barcelona, 1850–1855, on show as part of the Dressing the body. Silhouettes and fashion (1550-2014) exhibition. Photograph by La Photographgràfica

On the interior, the building is divided into two parts – a 7, 00-square-metre exhibition centre spread over four upper floors and a 900-square-metre Documentation Centre across the building's basement.

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Dress, 1950 by Manuel Pertegaz, on show as part of the Dressing the body. Silhouettes and fashion (1550-2014) exhibition. Photograph by La Photographgràfica

The Documentation Centre houses an archive and public library of over 22, 000 documents alongside a space for educational workshops.

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Poster for Industria y Arquitectura 2ª Exposición g.R, 1954 by Ricard Giralt Miracle, on show as part of the Graphic Design: From Trade to Profession (1940-1980) exhibition. Photograph by Xavier Padrós

"The goal is for visitors to understand and take part in the process that lies behind the creation of an object, concerning its concept, functions and forms, production, use and social representation," said a statement from the museum.

Design Museum to open in Barcelona
Poster for Expoquimia 68, 1968 by Ernest Moradell, on show as part of the Graphic Design: From Trade to Profession (1940-1980) exhibition. Photograph by Xavier Padrós

The Disseny Hub Barcelona will open on 14 December 2014.